Veterinary scientists are asking cat owners to keep their pets indoors to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among animals. This weekend a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, or more commonly known as coronavirus. But it’s a leap to worry if your household feline can get or transmit the coronavirus.
The risk of a pet contracting the virus is low. Globally, only two dogs and two cats have tested positive for the virus, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Research on cats in Wuhan found that the pets could get infected with the coronavirus. As of yet, the world officials maintain the stance that animals are playing no role in transmission to humans, although there is a significant chance that humans can infect animals, said Kerkhove.
To look more closely at the transmission of coronavirus in animals, WHO is working with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health.
It’s important that we remain respectful and kind to our pets as they’re also a being in their own. They are likely to be co-infected with humans, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said at the press conference on Wednesday.
“Over 1 million human cases at this point worldwide and we’ve only seen four domestic animals test positive so far worldwide, so the risk is very minimal [for COVID-19] to get to pets,” says William Sander, assistant professor of preventive medicine and public health, also at the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine.
So there is no need to worry about your pets yet, but we should be more careful in treating them.